Land application of sewage sludge: perceptions of New Jersey vegetable farmers
Sommaire de l'article
Understanding farmers' perceptions and choices regarding land application of sewage sludge is key to developing locally accepted strategies for managing its sewage sludge. Semi-structured interviews, with mostly open-ended questions were conducted with 50 fruit and vegetable farmers at the New Jersey Annual Vegetable Meeting in 1999. The in-depth interviews indicated that the application of sewage sludge to land is currently not a common agricultural practice for these growers. Perceived risks, including heavy metals in sewage sludge (soil-build up, crop-uptake), negative public perception, odour complaints, and increase of contaminants in the water supply outweigh economic incentives and soil improvement benefits. When naming benefits and drawbacks, farmers tend to think first of their crop and their land, and do not mention the environment. It is only when they are questioned directly about environmental benefits and risks that they discuss these aspects. Communication efforts should focus on practical information to which farmers can relate.